WATERTOWN (CBS) — Thousands of firefighters from across the country and overseas came to Watertown Wednesday to pay their final respects to a Boston firefighter who was killed with a colleague in a nine-alarm fire in the Back Bay last week.
Video: Final Salute To Lt. Ed Walsh
Lt. Edward Walsh, 43, died alongside 33-year-old firefighter Michael Kennedy when they became trapped in the basement during a fire March 26 in a brownstone on Beacon Street.
Walsh was married with three children, Dylan, Morgan and Griffin, all under the age of 10.
Photo Gallery: Images From Watertown
Firefighters from several states and as far away as Costa Rica and Australia lined the streets of Watertown, where Walsh grew up, for the procession of his casket on Engine 33 to St. Patrick’s Church on Main Street.
Related: Images From Procession, Service
Father John Unni, pastor of St. Cecilia’s Roman Catholic Church, which is near Walsh’s Engine 33 Ladder 15, spoke directly to the firefighter’s young children during his homily, telling them “I know he’s up in Heaven.”
WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamanczyk reports
“Your daddy’s watching down on you and your mommy and your brothers, your family, your grandmother, everyone of us.”
Unni said Lt. Walsh will be remembered as a husband, daddy, son, brother and friend.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the firefighter was “a rock at the center of many lives,” particularly his family.
“Let us be inspired by his example,” the mayor said.
Walsh will be buried next to his father, a Watertown firefighter.
His sister, Kathy Malone, recounted how Walsh stood with her at the same altar 14 years ago for their father’s funeral.
He was “an extremely dedicated family man” who “told it like it was,” Malone said.
“He was destined to do great things and he did,” she added.
Richard Paris, the president of the Boston firefighters union, told mourners that Walsh was proud to follow in his father’s footsteps, but he was prouder to be a husband and a father.
“He was a born leader who did not regard himself as a hero,” Paris said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Laurie Kirby reports
The service ended with the traditional ringing of the bell symbolizing the death of a firefighter.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley then spoke briefly, offering his condolences to Walsh’s family and fellow firefighters.
Kennedy’s wake is scheduled for Wednesday from 2:30-8 p.m. at the P.E. Murray Funeral Home at 2000 Centre Street, in West Roxbury.
His funeral will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m. at Church of the Holy Name at 1689 Centre Street in West Roxbury.
WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports
There is still no official word yet on what caused the fire.
A fund has been set up to help the firefighters’ families.
Donations may be made at the Boston Firefighter’s Credit Union website, www.bosfirecu.com, or by mailing checks to the fund care of the Boston Firefighter’s Credit Union, 60 Hallet St., Boston MA 02124.
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